Marching band makes alterations


Esmeralda Flores

Sophomore Andrew Spaulding plays his trombone in the morning during marching band. Marching band rehearses every morning starting at 7:00 a.m. all the way through first period on the football field.

Dani Hindman, Staff Writer

Marching band has gotten a bit of a new look within how it is run and with who is directing. Last year they used drill books, which are binders with coordinate planes showing a series of dots on the page that would represent each placement of the students. Where as this year they use the dot books, which are a more personalized version of drill books with the coordinates on the page but not the overall image. After former marching band director Pat Kearney changed to a different position in the building, head director Jeff Robilliard stepped up to fill the spot and band director Jason Heeren took the place Robilliard left open.

The dot books are a change Robilliard made this year with the goal in mind that they would be able to help the students learn the drills more efficiently. “Its really important that we get it right the first time so we don’t have to go back and fix it because they will make it a habit very quickly on where they are marching to,” Robilliard said.

While some students are getting used to the dot system, others are still finding it difficult to adjust. “I understand how they are helping us, because they are making everything more efficient but its taking a lot longer to learn,”  Senior Tiani Swallow said. With the old drill books the band only used four hours during practice and still do today, while other schools practice eight hours at band camp. Swallow feels the band could spend more time on the music. “They have been focusing a lot on the drill, which is understandable but I feel like a lot of the band doesn’t know the music,” Swallow said. She feels when  it gets loud at games it is hard for people in pit to hear, which causes difficulty for playing the music. After band camp the band and pit were not at the same spot in the music, pit had the first few songs memorized while the rest of the band did not.

Along with the transition to dot books, the band also had to adjust to new directors.

“They are both good teachers and try and push their students to their full potential,” junior Charlie Hoekstra said. “They both create an environment that is fun to learn in but also challenges you to do better. ” When they are on the field the duo try to make sure that everyone is at their spot. 

“Robilliard has been saying a lot of positive things, I can’t compare him to Kearney but I think he is doing well.” Sophomore Katelyn Kempkes said.

The directors are making sure that every one is able to understand what it is they need to do to be able to get the drills down to a tee.

“Robilliard has a lot more repetition than Kearny did, he makes us go back and get it instead of Kearney who would say do it a couple times then move on and fix it ourselves,” Senior Eli Couture said. “Robilliard takes a lot more hands on practice and tells us to do it a couple times, then move on, and have us fix it ourselves”

Heeren is new to the district and the band, he thinks the band program is good as it is and hopes to keep contributing to the teachings that they have already done in the past and are continuing. He feels that the dot books have already been an improvement to the band despite the delay at the beginning of the year. 

“He actually helped me out with some of the drill stuff, so I think he is actually a good fit for the position, he seems to care about it and I think it seems to be going well,” Kempkes said.

Robilliard has some experience in marching band from last year but this year he has the responsibility of getting everyone on the same page and making it piece together for the shows.

 “I really like the philosophy and how we’ve done marching band,” Robilliard said. “our philosophy is audience first we want to make sure that… the students enjoy the music and the audience, the parents, the football crowd enjoys the music they are listening to.” This year the marching band is playing iconic songs including “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, “Paint it Black” by Rolling Stones, “Fantasy”and “In the Stone” by Earth, Wind and Fire, “God Bless the Child” by Billie Holiday, “At Last” by Etta James as well as “Fool on the Hill” and  “Eleanor Rigby” by the Beatles. 

The marching bands’ next performances will be in the homecoming parade Oct. 1 as well as the homecoming game Oct. 2 during half time.